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Is Latin America Ripe For A Startup Revolution?

By allying themselves commercially, Mexico, Colombia, Chile and Peru have created a massive consumer base — just what new, home-grown tech firms need to grow and prosper.

Winning spirit in Santiago
Winning spirit in Santiago
Igor Galo

-Analysis-

MADRID — The leaders of Mexico, Chile, Colombia and Peru weren't the only ones who traveled to Puerto Vallarta, Mexico last month for the latest presidential summit of the Pacific Alliance (AP in Spanish) trade bloc. Some 250 business leaders, members of the AP's Business Council, also made the trip — to share ideas on how to boost trade and investment among the bloc's member countries.

Little wonder, given the opportunities available in a trade alliance that represents more than 220 million people. But what doesn't make sense is how few, if any, of the business leaders in Puerto Vallarta were startup entrepreneurs. That ought to change, because together, the combined customer base in Chile, Colombia, Mexico and Peru has more than enough critical mass to turn startups into more competitive "scaleups."

A large customer base is crucial for any firm that wants to keep growing, generate business and quality jobs in their countries, and compete with European or Asian rivals that already enjoy bigger markets in terms of population and spending power. And with startups, the options are fairly straight forward: grow, die, or sell out to foreign competitors, which means losing decision-making power as a region.

Together, Mexico, Chile, Colombia and Peru can create more Latin American unicorns.

The AP bloc clearly has potential for emerging tech firms, as discussed extensively at last year's South Summit AP in Bogota, Colombia. Further evidence comes from a joint report on Spanish technology startups done by Lufthansa and IE Business School. The report found that the most attractive destinations for Spanish tech firms were Mexico, Colombia, the United States, Chile and Peru. Ahead of countries like the United Kingdom and France.

If Spanish businesses can see this potential, then the AP countries should as well. Their trade alliance is a perfect framework for helping regional tech businesses grow. Together, Mexico, Chile, Colombia and Peru can create more Latin American unicorns to compete globally. Because when it comes to business growth, market size really does matter.

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Ideas

Absolute Free Speech Is A Recipe For Violence: Notes From Paris For Monsieur Musk

Elon Musk bought Twitter in the name of absolute freedom. But numerous research shows that social media hate speech leads to actual violence. Musk and others running social networks need to strike a balance.

Absolute Free Speech Is A Recipe For Violence: Notes From Paris For Monsieur Musk

Freedom on social networks can result in insults and defamation

Jean-Marc Vittori

-Analysis-

PARIS — Elon Musk is the world's leading reckless driver. The ever unpredictable CEO of Tesla and SpaceX is now behind a very different wheel as the new head of Twitter.

He began by banning remote work before slightly backtracking and authorizing it for the company’s “significant contributors.” Now he’s opened the door to Donald Trump to return to Twitter, while at the same time vaunting a decrease in the number of hate-messages that appear on the social network…all while firing Twitter’s content moderation teams.

But this time, the world’s richest man will have to make choices. He’ll have to limit his otherwise unconditional love of free speech. “Freedom consists of being able to do everything that does not harm others,” proclaimed the French-born Declaration of the Rights of Man in 1789.

Yet freedom on social networks results not only in insults and defamation, but sometimes also in physical aggression.

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